I love to recall the joy I felt when I became a puppy parent for the first time. I was so happy I thought my heart would explode! It was a wonderful bonding experience that has given me so many, many beautiful memories. It was also a learning experience. Caring for a living, breathing, thinking and, sometimes, utterly clueless little furbaby is not without its challenges. This article lists some important basics I wish someone had told me all those years ago when I had my first puppy.
The first two weeks
Just like human babies, newborn pups are completely dependent on their parents. Experts recommend minimal physical interaction by humans for at least the first few nights.
The basics of potty training
Potty training can be the most frustrating part of life for a new puppy parent. Puppies will have little clue of anything you attempt to teach them in the first 12 plus weeks. They also lack bladder control until about the fifth week. Start with hourly potty breaks outside. Complement them with positive reinforcement to cement good habits. As they get older, puppies’ bladders enlarge, and they develop better self-control. Establish a schedule for potty breaks at regular intervals throughout the day at this young age. Your future self with thank you!
Speaking of schedules…
Just as it is with a baby, a new puppy needs constant attention and care. Your current regular routine will become a distant memory. Puppy training classes, vet appointments (make sure to maintain up to date health checks & vaccinations), potty breaks, regular exercise, and constant supervision are bound to take a toll. Make sure you have all the help you need by roping in the whole family and friends to do their bit(Sometimes, you don’t even have to ask!). Find yourself struggling to keep up? Consider professional dog sitting and dog walking services.
The bond you develop with your puppy in these formative weeks/months lay the foundation for an unbreakable lifelong friendship. No matter how testing, when you look back in a few years’ time, it will all have been worth it.